Have you ever enjoyed a meal only to find yourself feeling hungry again soon after? You have hunger hormones that drive your appetite and getting control can help keep you from eating too much and gaining weight. Once you know why you feel so hungry all the time, you can take steps to combat the issue. Here are the most common reasons you're so hungry and what to do about it, courtesy of May Simpkin, registered dietitian.
1. You Might Be Eating Too Many Carbs
Your body needs a certain amount of carbs just to fuel daily activity, but too many can really screw you up. The problem is when you choose refined carbs like white rice, pasta and bread. These items cause a spike in glucose, then a crash that leaves you feeling hungry again soon after. Choose whole grains and you get more fiber, which helps you feel full longer. You should also be eating good carbs in vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash.
2. You Aren't Getting Enough Fiber
Like I said above, fiber keeps you feeling full longer. That's because it bulks up in your digestive tract and digests slowly, helping you keep hunger at bay for much longer than low fiber foods. Your best bets for fiber include whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.
3. You Might Be Eating Too Much Fruit
Yes, fruit is a healthy choice and you should be eating several servings each day. However, you can't live on fruit alone. In fact, according to experts, too much fruit fills you up on fructose, which is a natural sugar that can spike your insulin, then cause a crash that leaves you hungry again. Stick to two servings of fruit each day.
4. You're Skimping on Protein
To keep yourself from getting hungry soon after a meal, it's important to include plenty of protein at each meal. Protein must be broken down in your digestive tract and while that happens, it keeps hunger pangs at bay. You need a good dose of protein at every meal to keep this process going all day long. Choose lean meats, Greek yogurt, beans, seeds, nuts or eggs.
5. You Might Not Be Getting Enough Fat
Yes, too much fat can certainly cause weight gain, but the truth is that your body needs some fat to promote healthy brain and heart health. Fat also satisfies your appetite so including a bit at each meal can prevent hunger between meals. The trick is choosing the right kinds of fat, like that you find in avocados, nuts, salmon and olive oil.
6. You Only Think You're Hungry
I'll be the first to admit that when I get bored, I feel like I need something to eat. Your body might also trick you into thinking you're hungry when you're really just thirsty. Try sipping more water during the day and eating more fruits and vegetables, which are natural sources of fluids. You might find that staying more hydrated helps keep you from feeling hungry all the time.
7. You Limited Your Calories Too Much
Cutting back on calories is the single best way to drop excess weight or prevent weight gain. However, cutting back too much can leave you feeling hungry all the time. Your body needs calories to function so you can't nix too many of them from your diet. Make sure you are eating meals that are filling, but that are low in calories. Choose lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy and you should be good to go. Talk to your doctor to determine the right number of calories for you.
Why are you hungry all the time? What changes are you going to make?